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TIFF 2017 Press Conference

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the biggest in the world, and this year they are going small. Cutting down on the festival’s programming by 20%, CEO and Director Piers Handling with Artistic Director Cameron Bailey took to the stage at the TIFF Bell Lightbox to unveil the first Gala and Special Presentation titles in the new, tighter programming for 2017.

This year, the festival cuts out two of its previous programs: Vanguard (for “dark and edgy” films) and City to City (focusing on the cinema of an international city). Without them, TIFF still promises to bring in a wide range of films from around the globe, including 25 world premiers.

The special presentations program will open this year with Lady Bird. The directorial debut of actor and writer Greta Gerwig, best known for her credits in films such as Frances Ha and Mistress America, the film stars Saoirse Ronan. Special presentations will close with Amr Salama’s Sheikh Jackson, about a young imam obsessed with Michael Jackson.

Closing the festival this year will be the Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s C’est la vie!, which will be having its world premier at TIFF. Nakache and Toledano are best known for their 2011 hit, The Intouchables, and they return with an ensemble comedy about a wedding party as told through the eyes of the people working at the venue.

Also of note this year are Chloé Zhao’s The Rider, which won the top prize at the Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight, Dee Rees’ Mudbound, her first feature since her television film Bessie, and Robin Campillo’s 120 Beats Per Minute which won four awards at Cannes this year, including the Grand Prix.

Highlights of the announced films include:


C’est la vie! (Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano, France) World Premiere
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Paul McGuigan, United Kingdom) Canadian Premiere
The Mountain Between Us (Hany Abu-Assad, USA) World Premiere
Mudbound (Dee Rees, USA) International Premiere
The Wife (Björn Runge, United Kingdom/Sweden) World Premiere

Special Presentations:

BPM (Beats Per Minute) (Robin Campillo, France) North American Premiere
Catch the Wind (Gaël Morel, France) International Premiere
The Children Act (Richard Eyre, United Kingdom) World Premiere
The Current War (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, USA) World Premiere
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio, United Kingdom) World Premiere
A Fantastic Woman (Sebastián Lelio, Chile) Canadian Premiere
The Guardians (Xavier Beauvois, France) World Premiere
The Hungry (Bornila Chatterjee, India) World Premiere
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, USA) International Premiere
Novitiate (Maggie Betts, USA) International Premiere
The Rider (Chloé Zhao, USA) Canadian Premiere
A Season in France (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, France) World Premiere
Sheikh Jackson (Amr Salama, Egypt) World Premiere
Submergence (Wim Wenders, France/Germany/Spain) World Premiere


Chelsea Phillips-Carr

Chelsea Phillips-Carr is a freelance writer from Toronto. She has an MA in cinema studies.